News Releases from Region 05
EPA and IDEM Cite Whiting Metals for Lead Air Pollution in Northwest Indiana
(CHICAGO) November 9, 2018—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) have issued notices of violation against Whiting Metals, LLC, for excessive lead emissions from the company’s facility in northwest Indiana.
EPA and IDEM determined that lead concentrations exceeded the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) near the Whiting Metals recycling facility at 2230 Indianapolis Boulevard in Hammond. The NAAQS for lead and its compounds are 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3), averaged over a 3-month period. Based on the most recent data collected at IDEM’s monitor, the three-month average lead concentration at the monitor reached 0.31 μg/m3 for the period of August through October 2018.
IDEM installed a lead ambient air monitor adjacent to the Whiting facility and began sampling in August 2018. In response to elevated lead concentrations detected by the air monitor, EPA and IDEM inspected the facility in September. EPA in coordination with IDEM then installed a meteorological tower and an additional air monitor that collects hourly lead concentrations. EPA and IDEM determined that the Whiting Metals facility is the primary contributor of the lead emissions at that location, as the highest lead concentrations have been detected during the facility’s operating hours and coming from the direction of the facility. The notices of violation provide Whiting Metals with an opportunity to confer with, respectively, EPA and IDEM regarding these allegations as the agencies evaluate potential enforcement options under the Clean Air Act and state authorities.
Lead can adversely affect the nervous system, kidney function, immune system, reproductive and developmental systems, and the cardiovascular system. Infants and young children are especially sensitive to lead, which may contribute to behavioral problems and learning deficits.
For more information from EPA: https://www.epa.gov/in/whiting-metals
For more information from IDEM: https://www.in.gov/idem/airquality/2346.htm